As well as England wrapping up a series-clinching victory against Sri Lanka this week, there were also some extremely impressive milestones for skipper Alastair Cook and seamer James Anderson. The question now is, how far can these guys go?
At 31 years and 157 days, Cook became the youngest player in history to reach 10,000 Test runs during England’s second innings in the second Test at Chester-le-Street. He is the first Englishman to achieve the feat and is one of only 12 batsmen to do so.
Cook is probably the fittest guy I ever played cricket with. He used to absolutely smash the fitness tests and batting doesn’t seem to tire him. There is nothing stopping him playing for another five or six years and chasing down some seriously big records.
It might come down to his mental state and how long he wants to keep playing, how long he wants to be away from his family, but that element is made easier by him only playing Test cricket these days.
India great Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for Test runs, he amassed 15, 921 during his career, while the likes of Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara are all above Cook in the standings. Time, however, is on the England captain’s side.
Factor in also that this England side is an exciting place to be. Credit must go to Cook, who has really grown into the captaincy role over the last year, for taking the side from a pretty dark place after the 2013/14 Ashes to now – one of the world’s best teams.
I’m sure he will be determined to take England to the next level and conceivably he could play for another six years. If he does and averages 45-50, for instance, he is going to be well into the teens and it is feasible he could surpass Tendulkar’s record.
Turning to Anderson, who claimed his 450th Test wicket up at Durham. His skills are phenomenal and his results speak volumes. In English conditions, he tends to bowl within himself a little bit but knows exactly when to up the ante and his pace when pitches are flatter.
The only thing which could derail him over the next few years is injury, but with his frame and the way he’s built he doesn’t put too much stress on his body. I’ve read articles in which he says he aims to still be playing at the age of 40.
I remember writing last year that I could see Anderson chalking up 500 Test scalps but the Lancashire right-armer, who is now 33, just keeps on taking wickets and I can see him going on to snare 550, maybe even 600 Test victims.
The latter would put him fourth on the all-time list behind spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble but above ex-Australia seamer Glenn McGrath, who has 563 wickets. Like Cook, if Anderson remains hungry, there really is nothing stopping him.